Watch James Cleverlys angry Commons clash with Labour MP over sh**hole row

Cunningham and Cleverly clash over alleged Stockton comment

James Cleverly was in a tense stand-off with a Labour MP whose constituency he was accused of calling “a sh**hole” last week.

The row, which first erupted in Prime Minister’s questions last Wednesday spilled over into Home Office questions today as Stockton North MP appeared to be trying to suggest Mr Cleverly was misleading the House over what happened.

Cunningham claimed that when he asked a question of Rishi Sunak last week, the Home Secretary had referred to the town in the north east he represents, Stockton, as “a sh**hole”.

But Mr Cleverly later came back and apologised for “unparliamentary language”, claiming that he had described the veteran Labour politician as “a sh** MP”.

However, the row continued when Labour put out a Tweet with technology analysing what Cleverly had said, suggesting he may have used the word “sh**hole”.

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The row continued in the Commons today with Cunningham shouting accusations from the Labour benches.

Mr Cleverly said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the honourable gentleman accused me of making derogatory remarks about his constituency and my response issued through my office is that I did not, would not and would never make such comments about his constituency.

“What I said was I would not comment about him, my apology for using unparliamentary language, but for the avoidance of doubt with no ambiguity, I did not, I would not.””

But when Labour MPs shouted back that he had described Stockton in those terms, Cleverly retorted: “What are you accusing me of Sir?”

“MPs are not allowed to call each other liars in the House.”

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The Home Secretary went on: “I know what I said.

“I rejected the accusation that I criticised his constituency.

“My criticism of the honourable gentleman that I made from a sedentary position used inappropriate language for which I apologise.

“But I will not accept that I made a criticism of his constituency.”

Again, Cunningham called back, and Cleverly appeared to dare him to call him a liar: “What are you saying Sir?”

Cunningham got to his feet saying: “I wish to close this matter.

“I don’t require any apology for an insult against me because it didn’t happen.

“But the Home Secretary has not apologised to me, he has not apologised to the people of my constituency, he has apologised for using unparliamentary language.”

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